The Kitchen

The kitchen was the first room we took apart. We really didn’t know what we were doing, and just dove right in.


First, we removed all the cabinets and the countertops. Then we pulled off the wooden boards along the back and left wall. The back wall had no drywall behind it, but we figured it was for the better because the insulation had been mouse invaded. Everything was going swimmingly, and we kept thinking ‘why don’t more people re-do their own kitchens?’

Then we started to pull up the linoleum tile floor… it was glued down on to a sub floor which had been stapled and nailed with probably 100000 nails and staples on to an older linoleum floor which was glued to the actual sub floor. It took us an entire day to get the whole thing off.

And then – I don’t remember the details of why or how, we had a fountain spewing out when the cold water valve either wasn’t tightened down or was open:

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Finally, we began to put the whole thing back together. We started by putting drywall up on the back wall, and when it was ready to paint Chris said ‘let’s get a paint sprayer, I’ve heard they are great!’ I am always hesitant to buy ‘gear’ for things that can be done any other way. I hated the idea of buying a paint sprayer, but for whatever reason I let him THAT time…  so we bought one at Home Depot that seemed to be in the mid-range price wise.

It was the worst thing in the world. It sneezed the paint out in a gunky mess and got paint EVERYWHERE – including the beautiful 200 year old beams. So, as disappointed customers do, we took it back to Home Depot and told them it doesn’t work. They wouldn’t take it back – we still have the dumb thing, and we swore to never shop there again (…we have not stopped shopping there)

Finally, the walls were somewhat painted and we were ready to start with the floor. I had no idea that you don’t just tile on the subfloor until Chris (the more planning-oriented of the two of us) googled and found that first you put down backer board, which is like a big cement tile which helps prolong the integrity and longevity of the tile. He also drew chalk lines to make sure the tiles were all lined up. So we  put all but one (which I wanted to do a butcher block counter for) of the lower cabinets back in before laying some large slate tile down:

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It is HARD to get the cabinets all level with each other. Shims to the rescue! Which I for some reason thought were called ‘shimmies’ until I asked for ‘shimmies’ at the hardware store…

We had heard that slate tile was difficult to cut. This room wasn’t too bad – we didn’t have a tile saw at this point, we just used a diamond blade on a handheld circular saw we already had. If you plan to tile, I highly recommend renting or getting a wet tile saw, it’ll make your life SO much easier. Finally, the tile was in, grouted, and sealed:


Next we had a granite countertop put in by professionals (note how the sink is now centered under the window!) :


Then we put the upper cabinets back in (I had painted all of them white, they were a yellowish ivory before) and tiled the backsplash with subway tile:


Looking at that photo, I regret not using a dark grout. I grouted them with white grout to make them look like little bricks. We still hadn’t bought a tile saw, and were doing all the cutting with a tiny Dremel with a tiny diamond saw!

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The last things to do were to paint the window trim, update the lights, add the butcher block and add under cabinet lighting – here is the kitchen today, and before:



Note how yellow the fridge looks now! And it used to look white!

I love the black walnut butcher block I got from Chop Bloc – although it took them about 2 months it was the most affordable custom butcher block I found online:


The components:

Floor – Montauk Black 12 in. x 24 in. Gauged Slate Floor and Wall Tile  @ Home Depot

Backsplash – Snow White Subway Tile   @Home Depot

Lighting – Copper Pendant Lights

Granite counter & installation @Shaker Hill Granite

Custom Butcher Block -Walnut Square End Grain @Chop Bloc Cutting Boards






6 thoughts on “The Kitchen

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